Davis calls for empowered federal CIO

REDMOND, Wash.?Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for E-government and IT, is doing "a good job" as the de facto federal CIO, but she doesn't have the power that a designated federal CIO might wield when implementing governmentwide IT policy, according to House Government Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.).

Davis yesterday reiterated his longstanding support for the creation of a federal CIO position. He made his remarks during a question-and-answer session with public-sector CIOs at a Microsoft summit.

"A federal CIO talking to the president is one way you could get [things] done, and I don't think we have a mechanism right now where OMB really has the enforcement mechanisms to enforce [IT] procurements, particularly ones between agencies and the like on information-sharing," Davis said.

"We tried to get at it on the intelligence side because it had gotten so out of hand, but we're still seeing a proliferation of stovepipes; we're still seeing procurements coming forward that really aren't compliant with some of the things we need to do. And a federal CIO would help," Davis added.

Davis said agency CIOs were doing a great job, but a lot of what they can do depends on how their department head treats them.

"If they have them at their right hand, they'll be effective," he said. "It's one of the toughest jobs in the government and we should give them a little more power."

Brad Grimes is the chief technology editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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